Guide to Dondra: the little town at the edge of the island nation.

Located at the southernmost tip of Sri Lanka, Dondra is not only the most scenic point in the island country, but also the last point of the mighty Indian Subcontinent. If you want to go to a place no tourist goes to, Dondra is for you.

Once a flourishing multicultural port town patronised by the Singhalese rulers, Dondra was also an important centre for culture and religion: Hindu temples and Buddhist viharas were built, music and arts thrived. Today Dondra is one of the smallest towns in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka and stands far from the tourist circuits and that makes it even more special.

What to do in Dondra

The Dondra Head Lighthouse.

Dondra Head Lighthouse: This lighthouse is officially the last point of Sri Lanka and the Indian subcontinent. It is also the oldest (opened in 1890) and the tallest (49 mts) lighthouses in Sri Lanka. Although not open to public for climbing, it is a must visit for the adjoining lagoons, gentle waves, clear water and scenic views.

The Vishnu Temple & Buddhist Vihara in Dondra.
The Vishnu Temple & Buddhist Vihara in Dondra. Photo: Anubhuti Krishna

The Vishnu Temple & Buddhist Vihara: The unique blue temple building looks more like a personal residence with multiple floors. Flanked by a yellow gate, the Buddhist shrine is marked by a large Buddha statue. Also referred to as Devinuwara Temple, the complex stands right on the main square and makes for a great pit stop enroute the lighthouse.

How to get there: Barely 160kms from Colombo, Dondra is a comfortable 2.5hr drive from the capital. A scenic train ride until Matara, and a bus from there can also get you to Dondra in the same time. The lighthouse is a short tuk-tuk ride from the bus stop. The town makes for a great day trip from the beach towns of Galle, Hikkaduwa, Welligama, and Mirissa.

Buddha statue at the Sri Vishnu Maha Devalaya, Dondra.
Buddha statue at the Sri Vishnu Maha Devalaya, Dondra. Photo: Anubhuti Krishna

When to go: Dondra is accessible all through the year but April-May could be avoided due to heavy rains.

Tickets: There is no entry ticket to the lighthouse or the adjoining gardens. Special permission from the Harbour Master is needed to climb the lighthouse since it is under the Navy’s jurisdiction. Entry to the temples is also free.

 

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